Retirement Realities in Canada

22 August, 2016

Retirement Realities in Canada

Like many fellow Canadians of all ages, I think about retirement. The time and money freedom it is supposed to bring me (if I have planned well) is very enticing. A new article by Peter Wouters (Director, Tax Retirement & Estate Planning Service-Wealth, Empire Life), Retirement Realities for Boomers, gives us an update from a survey on Retirement Myths and Realities completed in 2015 by Royal Bank of Canada. (

The first of the three myths may not come as a surprise. Retirees don’t miss their former income level as much as they miss the social time and comradery they had with their co-workers. The relationships and daily connections of working life are more significant than the pay cheque.

The second myth is that retirees want to spend all their time doing things like travel when, actually, 72% state they are simply taking more time for themselves. This is a bit of a surprise after hearing about the long bucket lists people want to start accomplishing once they have more time freedom. Another pleasant stat for this survey is that 66% of these retirees also want to spend more time with their significant other.

The finally is that we all look forward to the day when we decide to retire, that everything is in place and we will get the pick the date. Unfortunately, this is not often the reality. 43% of retirees in this survey didn’t get to choose their final working date. Many are forced to retire by their own health issues or the need to provide care to someone else, or by their employer’s request.

This article sheds some interesting light on what we as Canadians perceive is our choice about retirement. Its final note is about regret. Retirement often comes with reflection. Many commented about the things they didn’t do and how they wished they had focused more on the simple things in life. There is a way to avoid some of these realities. Having a strategy in place that can be adjusted as life unfolds while living your life with a “no regrets” attitude, is a start.

Written by Pamela Carkner with Trevor Strong